Fans of physical media have just been dealt a major blow by Disney. The company is reportedly no longer going to be releasing 4K copies of its library titles via physical media. This means many classic Disney movies, as well as the huge collection of classics that the company inherited as part of the Fox merger last year, will not be making it to 4K Ultra HD. The upcoming 4K releases of Hocus Pocus and Home Alone are expected to be the last older movies to get a physical release in the HD format.
According to a new report, the company will only be releasing new animated Disney movies, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel titles on 4K disc in the future. Disney has not been particularly eager when it comes to releasing popular movies from its library on 4K in recent years, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 becoming the studio's first ever physical release in the format back in 2017. It seems the company is aiming to put all of its resources into streaming, specifically Disney+, which is viewed as a massive part of the company's future. Meanwhile, physical media has become an increasingly niche market.
But for those who do still purchase physical media, this is significant. Not only does Disney have a massive collection of movies that haven't made their way to HD in physical form, but Fox's huge back catalog that was part of the $71.3 billion deal last year will just be sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Just a few examples include Miracle on 34th Street, Mrs. Doubtfire and Fight Club. Disney was also not allowing theaters to book prints of classic movies for revival screenings following the merger with Fox last year. They are seemingly uninterested in capitalizing on the assets they purchased in this way.
There may be some exceptions to the rule. Namely, James Cameron. While Disney axed most of Fox's production slate after several of the movies inherited in the merger bombed in a big, bad way, they are very eager to get the Avatar sequels in theaters. This makes sense, as Avatar, until very recently, was the highest-grossing movie in history. As such, the report states that some of Cameron's classics like The Abyss and True Lies, which have not yet made it to 4K, may still be released on disc to appease the filmmaker. But they are seemingly in no rush to make it happen.
What is most peculiar about this decision is that other studios have managed to capitalize well on the 4K market by updating classic titles with new releases. Plus, with theaters being shut down since March, other companies, such as Sony, Universal, Paramount and Lionsgate, have all seen huge boosts to their home video revenue in recent months, as people are stuck at home during quarantine. Disney, with its hugely appealing library, could surely drum up a good deal of business with a stream of classic 4K releases. But that doesn't appear to be in the cards. This news comes to us via The Digital Bits.